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Internet Archive harassed by DDoS for days

The Internet Archive, a non-profit organization that preserves historical documents, websites and media content, has been afflicted by a series of DDoS-attacks for several days.

The collections are safe, but the service remains inconsistent. The same goes for the Wayback Machine, a service that allows users to explore and save web pages from different dates.

The first DDoS cyber attack began on Sunday May 26. An unknown threat actor has since then been launching tens of thousands of fake information requests per second. The source of the attack remains a mystery.

“Thankfully the collections are safe, but we are sorry that the denial-of-service attack has knocked us offline intermittently during these last few days”, Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive, explains in a blog post.

“With the support from others and the hard work of staff we are hardening our defenses to provide more reliable access to our library. What is new is this attack has been sustained, impactful, targeted, adaptive, and importantly, mean.”

Cyber attacks against libraries and other knowledge institutions are becoming more frequent. According to the Internet Archive, associations such as the British Library, the Solano County Public Library (California), the Berlin Natural History Museum, and Ontario’s London Public Library have all been targeted by hackers recently.

In addition to the recent DDoS-attacks, the Internet Archive is being sued by the US book publishing and US recording industries associations. They claim the Internet Archive is responsible for copyright infringement and demand hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

“If our patrons around the globe think this latest situation is upsetting, then they should be very worried about what the publishing and recording industries have in mind”, Kahle says.

“I think they are trying to destroy this library entirely and hobble all libraries everywhere. But just as we’re resisting the DDoS-attack, we appreciate all the support in pushing back on this unjust litigation against our library and others.”

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